Jumping is hard.
Even at big A shows, equitation faults abound. Riders jump ahead and get left behind. Eyes look down, shoulders round, heels come up, legs swing back, hands get rough. Good riding happens, too, of course, but it's tough out there. Nobody looks perfect all the time.
Not even George Morris.Jumping is extra hard for 1:9 scale doll riders. In fact, it's nearly impossible for an unaltered, original finish Breyer doll. The main culprits, once again, are those stiff, plastic boots.
A flexed ankle is an essential part of the proper leg position. The heels should be down, or at least down-ish, the toes should point out, not in, and the rider's calves should rest against the horse's sides. The lower leg should fall slightly behind the girth, and the stirrup leather should be perpendicular, or nearly so, to the ground.
In the air, the rider should close his/her hip angle to follow the horse's jump. The shoulders should be in front of the perpendicular line of the stirrup leathers, while the hips stay behind it.
This common error is called jumping ahead. The doll's legs are too far back and her hips are too far forward. This weighs down the horse's front end, and also puts the rider in a precarious position should the horse stumble or stop.
Here's the opposite problem. Now the doll has been left behind. Her shoulders are behind her leg, and she is falling backwards over the jump.
In all these pictures, the doll is looking down. Her neck has not been customized, so a proper, heads up position is impossible for her. Turning her head to the side makes this a little less obvious...
but the best jumping dolls are those with customized, bendy necks. Look how much better this guy rides!
Hands should rest against the horse's neck in a long (shown above) or short (shown below) crest release. The long release should be accompanied by a looser rein, while the short release provides a little more contact.
Hands floating above the crest are a common fault in both the real and model show rings.
More advanced rider dolls may also use an automatic release, where the rider maintains a straight line from the elbow to the horse's mouth.Rider dolls can make or break a performance entry. In today's competitive show ring, it's worth the time and effort to learn how to pose them properly. I hope this series has made that process just a little bit easier!